Sign and symptom of pregnancy - pregnancy signs and symptoms
Pregnancy lasts for approximately 40 weeks or 9 months. During pregnancy a woman's body undergoes a number of changes to allow the fetus to develop inside the womb. The symptoms of pregnancy vary from woman to woman. These changes can cause various symptoms, but these are not usually serious and tend to disappear without any treatment
during pregnancy or soon after the birth. Some experience a variety of symptoms and others experience none of the signs of pregnancy. Missing a period is the most obvious indication, but there are others which you may, or may not, experience.
Amenorrhea. A missed period is usually one of the first indicators of pregnancy for women. However, some women experience spotting or a light menstrual-like flow, when implantation occurs (about 10 days after conception). The bleeding that occurs when the developing embryo becomes implanted into the uterine wall is lighter and shorter in duration than is menstrual bleeding.
Breast tenderness. Many women feel an overall tenderness and heaviness of the breasts. The areola (nipple area) becomes more sensitive, sometimes painfully sensitive, and darkens. The breasts become more full and the veins often become more apparent. These changes begin as early as one week after conception.
Nausea or vomiting. Most pregnant women become sensitive to certain smell and experience nausea, vomiting etc. Some develop an aversion to certain things liked before. The intensity with which women experience morning sickness varies tremendously. This feeling may persist through the first trimester or longer.
Frequent urination. Caused by an increased volume of body fluids and pressure from the growing uterus. This usually starts six to eight weeks after conception. Other possible causes: urinary tract infection, diuretics, tension, diabetes, drinking excess fluid.
Fatigue. Caused by high levels of the hormone progesterone and the body's increased use of energy as the fetus develops. This usually appears during the first trimester. Other possible causes: tension, stress, depression, poor diet, flu, lack of exercise, poor sleep or lack of sleep.
Bleeding. Spotting of blood that's pink or brown in color, sometimes accompanied by stomach cramps. Caused by the egg implanting itself in the endometrial lining. Usually occurs about a week after ovulation. Other possible causes: beginning of period, breakthrough bleeding from the pill.
Food cravings. Caused by hormonal changes in the body. Food cravings are usually experienced during the first trimester. Other possible causes: poor diet, stress, beginning of period (PMS).
Dizziness and/or fainting. When standing in one place you may feel dizzy or even faint. The growing uterus compresses major arteries in your legs which causes your blood pressure to drop making you extremely light headed. Skipping meals or going too long without eating may cause you to feel dizzy or faint. When not eating frequently enough it causes low blood sugar. Blood sugar is the primary source of food for your baby so it will be depleted much more quickly.
Constipation. Pregnancy hormones will slow down bowel functions to give maximum absorption time of vitamins and nutrients. Unfortunately, this symptom usually only gets worse as the pregnancy progresses. Constipation is common in pregnancy for several reasons. Drinking at least six to eight glasses of water per day, and eating a diet rich in fresh fruit and wholegrain foods can help prevent or relieve constipation.
Pins and needles. Pins and needles, especially in the hands, can be accompanied by some pain or numbness and occasionally weakness in the fingers. Usually this is caused by fluid build-up around the wrists, which compresses the nerves that run to the hand muscles and skin. This is known as carpal tunnel syndrome and tends to occur when there is also swelling in the ankles.
Varicose veins. These are enlarged veins, usually in the legs. They often develop or become worse during pregnancy because the growing uterus puts extra pressure on the veins in the pelvis and legs, and because hormones cause the walls of blood vessels to relax. Pregnant women can help to relieve the symptoms or reduce the risk of getting varicose veins by getting regular gentle exercise, not crossing their legs when sitting, putting their feet up when possible, and putting on support tights or stockings before getting out of bed in the morning.
Piles. Piles (haemorrhoids) may first appear or become worse during pregnancy and result from changes in the circulation of blood around the pregnant woman's body. They may also develop during labour when the woman is pushing. Women can reduce the risk of getting piles by making sure they don't become constipated, and not ignoring the urge to open their bowels. Piles can be relieved with over-the-counter creams, available from pharmacies. Taking warm baths is helpful for some women.
Itchy skin. About 20% of pregnant women get some kind of skin itchiness. When this occurs over the abdomen, it is probably caused by the skin stretching. But it's also common to have itchy palms and soles of the feet, which is thought to be caused by increased hormone levels. Itchiness can usually be relieved by applying a simple moisturiser such as aqueous cream, which is available inexpensively from pharmacies. In rare cases, generalised itchiness in the third trimester can be a sign of a liver problem called obstetric cholestasis.